As most schools in the US prepare for the start of school online or in some blended format, it’s important to think specifically about teachers’ professional learning.

A Framework for Blended PDI’m sharing Part 2 of my series on Blended PD.

In this series, I’m sharing ideas for planning Blended PD, assessments, strategies, activities, and more.

In Part 2, I’m sharing some ways to design more meaningful professional learning, best practices, and tips I have learned over my 13 years as a PD facilitator.

Did you miss Part 1? Be sure to listen to Part 1 in this Blended PD series, episode 71.


I want to give Tom Justice a shoutout in the Shake Up Learning community for sharing his selfie with the Shake Up Learning book!

Join a Shake Up Learning book study.

Listen to this article:


Quick Tip – Reuse Questions in a Google Form

Save time creating Google Forms and Quizzes for students by reusing questions. It’s super easy.

Click on the “import questions” icon in Google Forms, select the form from which you want to import questions, then select the questions, and click “import.”

Here’s a 2-minute video learn how!

In this podcast series, I will share ideas for planning, scheduling, strategies, modeling, facilitating, and everything else that I can think of to help schools make the most of the situation. This is our chance to revolutionize professional development, which needs a shakeup!

Did you miss Part 1? Be sure to listen to Part 1 in this Blended PD series, episode 71.

In today’s episode, I share Part 2 of the Blended PD Framework focused on designing meaningful PD and best practices for adult learners.

Teaching adult learners is different than teaching our K12 students. When you are designing your professional learning experiences for adults, you need to consider the following:

Be respectful of your participant’s time.

Time is precious. Nothing is worse than feeling like you are wasting your time in PD.

Create respectful tasks.

The tasks you ask teachers to complete in professional learning should respect their knowledge and skills as a PROFESSIONAL and their specific role in education.

PD must be relevant.

Adults will not engage if they do not feel it is relevant to their specific job. (We have to differentiate! One-size-fits-all needs to end!)

Incorporate choice of learning.

Adults learn best when they have input and choice. Teacher input is critical to the learning process, success, and continuous improvement.

Be sure to check out this guest post and template by Pam Hubler, Google Challenges for Teachers, for ideas on incorporating choice and choice boards in PD.

Give meaningful feedback and create an ongoing feedback loop.

Give meaningful, ongoing feedback before, during, and after all professional learning experiences. Context gets lost in online and blended experiences, and opportunities to communicate and give feedback is more important than ever.

Encourage exploration and creation.

Blended PD should always encourage participants to explore things on their own or in groups. Teachers should be given opportunities to create as they learn (formative) and create to demonstrate mastery (summative). Most of all, I believe teachers need to be given time to create learning experiences for their students using what they’ve learned.

Include multiple types of media to support learning.

As I’ve mentioned before, blended and online learning makes it difficult to get context, and we need to offer multiple ways to process new information. Combine this with the fact that we all learn differently; we need to include multimedia and multiple ways to learn the content, including video, text, audio, visuals, images, infographics, graphic organizers, etc.–anything that supports your learning goals, extends the learning, deepens the learning, and helps your participants better understand the content.

Incorporate active learning opportunities.

We all learn by doing! Have participants actively create and problem solve. We want teachers actively engaged in solving the problems they face in the classroom. For instance, most teachers experienced a problem with engagement in online learning during school shutdowns. How can we model that? How can we work together to support and solve this problem together?

Create flexible groups. 

Opportunities to connect and learn in groups/teams to communicate, collaborate, and ask questions.

Break into meaningful groups based on the pre-assessment. This could be groups based on skill levels, subject areas, grade-levels, needs, etc. Give them a team-approach when possible with flexible groups. Our LMS platforms, like  Google Classroom, would be perfect for this. Create a class in Google Classroom for each group.

DO NOT lump your administrative assistants into instructional training. I repeat DO NOT throw your administrative assistants into teacher training. What they need to know and understand about things like G Suite is very different.

This will allow you to add a communication and collaboration element to the experience, so they aren’t just passively watching videos but also engaging and asking questions.

Blend synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Don’t be afraid to combine live and recorded presentations. Live presentations give us more human interactions and allow participants to ask questions. But recording these presentations is also beneficial for those who couldn’t attend live, allow participants to review the content, and more. You can also record different levels of training and presentations based on skill, content areas, etc., allowing for more differentiation.

Recorded presentations help you clone your best in-house trainers, as well as give you opportunities to differentiate, have smaller groups, and save money if you are hiring outside trainers like me.

Offer ongoing support and coaching.

More coming on this idea in Part 3, but don’t forget to design your PD experience with support and coaching for each step of the way.

Offer extensions and enrichment.

There are always teachers who are eager to learn more and dive deeper into the content.

The Edcamp model is a great way to offer teachers more ways to connect and learn together with very little planning. It’s all about choice and discussion. The schedule is created on the fly by participants. These are traditionally face-to-face but can translate into online breakout rooms. If you aren’t familiar with the Edcamp model, visit this page to learn more.

There are many other ways to offer additional resources and enrichment for teachers. Consider sharing podcasts, blog posts, online courses, or online book studies.

How to Design Google PD That Works

In the podcast, I also mentioned my Google PD Framework, where I share the sequence that I teach all of the Google Apps and other tips and best practices. Check it out here.

We have many programs to help your teachers learn how to meaningfully integrate Google tools and the entire G Suite in the classroom. From online courses to books, to face-to-face training, we got you covered!

COVID-19 forced many teachers and schools to scramble to find tools to deliver online assignments, design digital learning experiences, and G Suite was the number one suite of tools to help make this a reality.

Just in time resources and learning will help teachers, students, and parents survive the crisis. When we return to the new normal, G Suite skills will help set the foundation for more dynamic and meaningful learning in the classroom.

Get your entire campus or district on board with G Suite! Help your teachers learn more about G Suite tools, Google Classroom, and meaningful technology integration strategies. You can even help all your teachers become Google Certified Educators!

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